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Jett Superior laid this on you on || October 11, 2007 || 10:59 am

writing our future, with stickpeople and everything

1 worked it out »

  1. redclay 10.16.2007

    “Amores I, xiii

    Bright like molten gold her hair as she lashes

    Her chariot on, axle still sparking

    With frost—dragging day up over the sea, day

    That makes her shrivelled husband sigh:

    Again,

    She’s left him all alone, escaped his bed

    For the wide dawn. . .

    “Look, Aurora, slow down, OK?

    Memnon’s sacred starlings need to pay

    Respects to their father’s ghost—give them a chance

    To spring from his ashes, dark birds whirling

    Through still dark air!

    Plus, you’ll be doing me

    A favor; and not just me, but lovers like me

    Everywhere:

    When sleep is deep, the air’s cool,

    And birdsong laves the edge of day, how I delight

    In lying in her arms, thigh pressed on thigh!

    Bad news to lovers deliciously dozing, Aurora,

    What’s the rush? Pull back on the reins a bit

    With that lovely blood-flushed hand, help sailors

    Better observe the stars so they steer sure

    And clear across the trackless deep.

    When you crack

    Your whip, its lash stings travellers, no matter

    How tired, back to slogging down the road, while

    It snaps in the soldier’s ear, his hand reaching

    Out in terror to grip his spear. You’re the first

    To spot the farmer plowing, you summon

    The steer to grinding work beneath the yoke.

    Schoolboys yawn when you cheat them of sleep and push

    Them off to school where teachers with the ruler

    Give tender palms a thwack. You’re the one

    Who sends us running off to court, judges,

    Defendants, witnesses, whole cases ruined

    By one wrong word; and no matter

    Who wins, you drive them ahead, lawyers and clerks

    Rising to new cases, treadmilling on and on. . .

    You could let hands scratched red by wool take

    A little break, girlish hands you call each morning

    To tedious work, spinning, spinning, always spinning . . .

    —I could put up with almost anything!—

    But look, Goddess, to force out of bed my Corinna

    Each morning, who could stand such treatment

    But some wolf-faced hermit, half mad, who takes

    Grim pleasure in spending his nights alone.

    How I’ve prayed you’d break an axle on

    A sudden gust of wind or your horse stumble

    In dense clouds and fall, oh why should stars fly off

    The instant they spy your face?

    Black-hearted

    Mother of a stormy-eyed son, it’s envy,

    Isn’t it, that makes you whip your horses on?

    If only Tithonus felt free to spill everything he knows,

    There’d be no bigger stink in heaven! Rushing away

    Because, long ages past, he withered at the root,

    Could that be why you’re driven to rise up?

    If Cephalus, good-looking Cephalus held you tight,

    You’d cry out like us, Run softly, slowly, horses of night!

    Why should I be saddled with your hate

    Because you chose a man older than the moon

    For a mate? But just look how many hours of

    Loving sleep the moon gives her Endymion!

    And she’s no less beautiful than you when she glides

    Through clouds that deep, calm moment before dawn. . .

    Just to take twice the pleasure, Jupiter once made

    The night twice as long so he wouldn’t have to see

    You come barging in: Hercules’ mother

    Ought to know!”

    At last I finished scolding—and I knew

    She heard by how her blush kept spreading! But still the same

    As yesterday, dawn came riding through the clouds.

    Ovid

    —Translated by Tom Sleigh

     

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